Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
The Official Kenfig Community History Project
This website project documents the entire history of Kenfig & surrounding areas from prehistory to the present day. This website is permanent & is continually being updated.
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THE LATEST NEWS: THE FIRST WORLD WAR AROUND KENFIG
The First World War around Kenfig
As the World marks the centenary of the outbreak of WWI this website is creating a special online resource on the First World War & how it affected Kenfig & surrounding areas... this will be included in the War Years Section
We are beginning our quest with the poignant story of a Kenfig Hill man who sacrificed his life for us all, he was only 21 when he died on the battlefields of the Somme.
What the Papers Said... The Glamorgan Gazette, Friday 15 September 1916
Kenfig Hill Soldier's Death - Pte "Jack" Bowen
One of the most popular young men that Kenfig Hill has given to the Army has made "the great sacrifice." Official news has come to hand that Pte. Thomas John Bowen, of the Post Office, Kenfig Hill, has been killed in action. "Jack" as he was known to his many friends, was a universal favourite, his quiet, winning manners endearing him to all. He was a regular attendant at St Theodore's Church and was also a member of the Y.M.C.A.
He joined the 20th Welsh ("Pals" Company) on November 1st, 1915 and was stationed at Kinmel Park, Rhyl, before being drafted to France. He was later transferred to the 15th Welsh Regiment. He met his death in the "great push" at Mametz Wood on July 10th last, at the early age of 21. Prior to enlistment, he acted as town postman at Kenfig Hill.
The following letter was received from his commanding officer: "I regret to say Pte T.J.Bowen was killed in the great fight in Mametz Wood. Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of a man who was a credit to his platoon, and who fought a good fight." Needless to say , the greatest sympathy is felt in the neighbourhood with his parents and relatives in their sad loss.
website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2013. All rights reserved.
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ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIG AT KENFIG ...WILL DUNES GIVE UP THEIR SECRET?
Iron Age hill fort found by TV Crew near Kenfig
Archaeologists have found the remains of an Iron Age hill fort in Bridgend county. The discovery at Maudlam village near Kenfig was made during filming for S4C programme Archaeoleg. Read more ....BBC News South East Wales
Latest News: updated 29 October 2013
During the past week (Mon 21 - Fri 25 October 2013) an archaeological dig has been ongoing at Kenfig searching for remains that could pre-date the lost Norman town and/or city of Kenfig by centuries.
A Welsh tevelvision production company, Trisgell is producing a 6-part history series to be shown on S4C in 2014 were invited by the Kenfig Corporation Trust - they chose to dig at a site near to the Angel Inn in Maudlam after viewing aerial photographs that show an oval feature, possibly a windmill lying under the sand. Ground scans confirmed the existence of ditches & possibly an entrance to an iron-age settlement.
The lead Archaeologist & presenter Dr Iestyn Jones dubbed the site called 'Twmpath Y Felin Wyllt' meaning Windmill Hill "enigmatic". He also said that the site is obviously closed, there are banks & ditches all the way around but the sand hides everything that was here originally.
Dr Jones also said, "If it's Iron-Age we're looking at something between 500BC & the Roman occupation - if it's Bronze Age it might be even before that, but we don't know. This would have pre-dated the village by some considerable time & might have been one of the earliest settlements in this area." The archaeological dig hopes to uncover pottery which can be analysed to provide an exact date for the settlement in the territory of the Silures Iron-Age tribe.
Further information on this archaeological dig & when the television programme will be screened on S4C will be published on this website in the future.
Source: Glamorgan Gazette newspaper (25 October 2013)
Royal visit to Kenfig
05 July 2013 - HRH The Prince of Wales visits The Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig - LEARN MORE...
HRH The Prince of Wales arriving at the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig. (Image courtesy: Rob Bowen - ODPDS Professional Photography)
HRH The Prince of Wales with landlord Gareth Maund at the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig. (Image courtesy: Rob Bowen - ODPDS Professional Photography)
HRH The Prince of Wales at the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig. (Image courtesy: Rob Bowen - ODPDS Professional Photography)
Royal visit to the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig - LEARN MORE...
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - CEFN (BEDFORD) IRONWORKS
John Bedford, Ironmaster (c.1720-1791)
Born in the Midlands, England in the early 1770s John Bedford had an ambition to make the area known as 'Waun Cimla' the centre of an industrial empire. He built an ironworks, brickworks, collieries/mines & a grand house overlooking his realm. Bedford Road, Cefn Cribbwr & the Iron Works are named after him.
The ironworks were abandoned during the mid 19th century & fell into decay. The ironworks were acquired by the former Ogwr Borough Council (now Bridgend County Borough Council) & a programme of conservation occurred between 1991-1995. Funding was provided by Ogwr Borough Council, CADW-Welsh Historic Monuments, Welsh Development Agency, Welsh Office & the European Union.
These works have continued since the inception of Bridgend County Borough Council in 1996 with funding from the Welsh Government & in partnership with Y Cefn Gwyrth.
The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument of National Importance.
The Bedford Ironworks
The repaired stone buildings at the Bedford Ironworks (Cefn Cribbwr) are the remains of the ironworks started by John Bedford, a Birmingham businessman c.1770-1780s - they were abandoned from the mid 19th century. All the structures found are in a typical late 18th to early 19th century iron works. These include:
Raw materials (roasted iron ore, coke & limestone) were taken by trams & loaded into the top of the furnace. In the coke ovens, coal was partially burnt to drive off impurities. This left a tough but light porous fuel called coke. All the buildings at the same level as the coke ovens are linked by tramways which once had iron fish bellied rails to the wide gauge of 4'6". Only the stone sleeper blocks were left but a new rail & tram have been placed on the site.
The ironmasters found that iron ores could be improved by roasting them in calcining kilns to remove impurities particularly sulphur which made brittle iron. There are 2 calcining kilns with a tramway passage between them which are also preserved.
The main function of the charge house (a building located at the level of the top of the furnace) was to lead a tramway to the platform so that all the raw materials (roasted ore, limestone - for further purification & coke) could be loaded directly into the top of the furnace.
The Blast Furnace
The Blast Furnace was 32 feet (9.8m) square at the base tapering slightly with the height to rise 10.6m from the hearthstone with a wide but short circular chimney.
This tapping (casting) arch where iron was run out was the focus of the iron-making process. To melt iron the temperature in the furnace would have to been around 1,140 degrees Centigrade.
The inner wall & hearth is well preserved, a brick-built foundary furnace to cast iron made in another works was constructed in the tapping arch by Bedford's successor, William Bryant c. 1830-1840s.
Air to provide the blast was pressurized in the engine house & piped to the 3 blowing arches in the sides of the furnace. The pipes ended at the tuyeres (pronounced tweers) or iron nozzles set in square openings in the inner walls of the blowing arches.
Next to the Blast Furnace was the Cast House where the molten iron was run out into channels cut in a casting pit full of sand. These channels were likened to a sow & her piglets - hence 'Pigs' of iron. The small building attached to the east side of the cast house appears to have been used for further processing of the iron, perhaps by a smith.
To be Continued...
Source: Bridgend County Borough Council, Photos by Rob Bowen, Amazon.
History of Education around Kenfig - Coming Soon
Bryndu School, Kenfig Hill (c.1914)
About 1857 C R M Talbot MP, of Margam Estate (Owner of Bryndu Slip Colliery) started a temporary school in colliery stables; known as Bryndu Works School. In 1860's Bryndu School was built at the end of School Road, Kenfig Hill - it was demolished in 1957.
Throughout Kenfig & surrounding areas, leases, wills and other legal documents were being signed by local inhabitants as far back as the mid 17th century – furthermore, these signatures were not only from particularly well-to-do families that had been sent away to be educated, but from the local peoples of the area as well. In a deed dated 1659 relating to a house called Ty Mawr – now known as Haregrove farmhouse, there was mention of a room called “The Skoole”.
Cefn Cribbwr School c.1910
Cefn Cribbwr School
This was built in 1894 as Cefn Cribwr Board School in a single small building on the site of its present infant section.
In 1902 the so called 'mixed department' referred to as the 'Big School' was added; the 2 schools soon had several hundred pupils between them which became inadequate & c.1914 this original building was demolished being replaced by its present one. At that time the school motto was inscribed on the fron wall of the school - it reads... Esgyn Yw Nod Ysgol - To achieve is the aim of the school.
The school board was abolished & Cefn became a Council School operated by the Glamorgan County Council. The school was refurbished in the 1930's with a playground & initial corridor for the 'big school' being introduced and a school canteen & central heating were added in 1957 - internal toilets were added after this date. The early Headmasters appear to have been Welsh baptists - Mr Idris Williams (Headteacher during & after WWII) was a devout Anglican being the first to break this tradition.
Source: Cefn Cribbwr Primary School, Bridgend County Borough Council.
History of Education around Kenfig - Coming Soon
The History of Sport around Kenfig
COMING SOON... www.kenfig.org.uk/community/sports/
EXPLORE KENFIG - THE COMPLETE HISTORY (e-RESOURCE)
The Cyhiraeth is a ghostly wailing and shrieking sound - this brings fear to all who hear it. It's a certain harbinger of a coming storm or wreck.
Spectre on a White Horse
A spectre on a white horse - if this is encountered on a night of a new moon, the beholder has the certainty of a dreadful end before 12 months have passed.
The Bottomless Pool
In 1857 a story was told in the kenfig area of an Evan Lewis who attempted to cross Kenfig Pool in a horse and carriage. The wheels of the coach snagged in the remains of the old town beneath the waters, and man, horse and carriage disappeared and were never more seen.
Inquest records and the parish registers show that in 1837 thirteen year old Evan Lewis was drowned in kenfig Pool on 2 September whilst washing a coach elonging to his master. His body was buried two days later.
The spectre of the ill-fated Maid of Sker frequently appeared in an upstairs room, wherein she was said to have been confined by her father. Her appearances are supposed to have been accompanied by the clanking of chains and other curious phenomena.
R.D.Blackmore's Maid of Sker also featured a ghostly apparition, this time in the guise of a monk. "Abbots walk" within Sker house was the home of a quarrelsome fellow who fell out with his Holy brethren and came to an untimely end. His spectre groans in the middle of the night.
The Cyhiraeth sometimes brought the "Tolaeth", another sound, less frightening but more ghostly. This was the noise a carpenter would hear at night after making a coffin when nobody else was in his workshop but himself. It's associated with the sound of hammering.
The Ghost of Pyle Church
Visiting Pyle Church on All Hallows Eve you will hear the ghost relating incidents which were to happen during the ensuing year. It commenced by reciting a list of parishioners who were destined to die during the year. Then followed the names of those to be married. It is still a mystery of whether young men would secretly enter the church to make the announcements or whether so great was the superstition of the local people many would implicitly believe it was a ghost.
Gwyneth and Owen
This tale is from the medieval period when Owen, who was a novice at Margam Abbey, had the misfortune to fall in love with a local girl named Gwyneth, the grand-daughter of a sorceress named Maud living in Cwm Kenfig.
The couple had a regular meeting place near the banks of the river Kenfig, but one day their tryst was brought to an abrupt end by a sudden and violent storm. As the couple struggled to find shelter they got hopelessly lost and above the raging of the storm and the roar of the swollen river, heard the frightful screams of the Gwrach Y Rhibyn (Hag of the Mist) mocking the futility of their efforts to reach safety.
All who heard the cry of the Hag knew that some dire misfortune awaited them.
As night fell the doomed couple struggled on, but a demon known as the Torrent Spectre appeared and swept the two into the swollen waters of the river Kenfig. Later the same night fishermen at Sker were disturbed to hear the eerie keening of the Cyhiraeth whose cry was said to herald the arrival of a corpse on the beach.
As dawn broke it was to reveal the bodies of the two lovers lying on the sands clasped in one another's arms.
The field on the north side of Pyle Church, now occupied by a small private housing estate, was once known as "Puckwall".
The name probably dervives from the English sprite Puck, which in turn perhaps originates from the Welsh "Bwca" or "Bwci Bo". It was believed that Bwci Bo was a goblin or elf who haunted certain farmhouses and if well fed with milk left out for him at night, would help with the housework whilst the good people slept.
If he were spied upon or ill-treated in anyway, he would bring ill luck to the house and find a new abode for himself. He was sometimes known as "Bwca'r Trwyn" from his long nose, which differentiates him from the button-nosed Puck of English legend.
A Skeleton from Our Past...
The location of the church of St.James that served the former town of Kenfig buried beneath the sand dunes is thought to be approximately 300 yards south of the remains of Kenfig Castle. The basis for this if from various finds of human bones in the dunes.
One such discovery at the begining of the 20th century is recorded in the book "Annals of South Glamorgan" by Marianne Robertson Spencer, published in 1913.
The graveyard of the old church is buried under the sands and numbers of coffinless skeletons have been found there from time to time - these exposed by the shifting sands.
Not so very long ago, some boys coming over the sand dunes early one morning and crossing the old burial place found an entire skeleton resting on the sub-soil from which the sand had just been blown. There was no sign of any coffin and every bone was in place... The remains were taken up and interred in the present grave yard.
Kenfig Pool - Vengence is coming!
A local chieftain wronged and wounded a Prince and the latter, with his dying breath, pronounced a curse against the wrongdoer. The curse was forgotten until one night the decendants of the chieftain heard a fearful cry; "Dial a ddaw! Dial a ddaw!" (Vengence is coming!).
At first it passed unnoticed, but when the cry was repeated night after night, the owner of Kenfig asked the domestic bard what it meant. The bard repeated the old story of revenge, however this was dismissed and a great feast was undertaken with music and song.
In the midst of the carousal the fearful warning cry was repeatedly heard, and suddenly the earth trembled and water rushed into the place.
Before anybody could escape, the town of Kenfig, with its palace, houses and people was swallowed up and only a deep dark lake or pool remains to mark the scene of the disaster. In the early part of the nineteenth century traces of the masonary could be seen and felt with grappling irons in the pool...
TRANSPORT - RAILWAYS - THE PORTHCAWL RAILWAY
HISTORY - PORTHCAWL
The Porthcawl Branch
Porthcawl stands on a low headland at the far edge of a series of small bays to the west of the mouth of the river Ogmore and a few miles below the sourthern outcrop of the South Wales coalfield.
The railway that served Porthcawl was notable for it was owned by 5 successful undertakings and at various times embodied 3 different gauges.
Porthcawl was the obvious choice for a harbour when in the early 19th century the development of the iron & coal industries along the Cefn Cribbwr ridge and at Maesteg in the Llynfi Valley created the demand for a shipping outlet.
The creation of the Duffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway Company in June 1825 (Read more... ) was a tramroad having rails spiked direct to stone blocks & reputedly constructed to the unusual gauge of 4ft 7in with its starting point at Dyffryn Llynvi about 1 ½ miles north of Maesteg.
This tramroad crossed Maesteg from the east to the west bank of the river Llynfi then passed down the valley through Troedyrhiw, Garth and Tondu where it followed the north side of Cefn Cribbwr before passing round the west flank of Kenfig Hill to Pyle, Cornelly and Porthcawl.
The total length was 16¾ miles in which there was a fall of 490 feet giving an overall average gradient of 1 in 180 descending towards the sea.
The tramroad is reputed to have been opened for horse-drawn traffic in 1829 and 5 years later became connected from Park Slip (west of Tondu) to the town of Bridgend (about 4 miles south eastwards) by another horse-worked tramroad known as the Bridgend Railway.
With the development of industry and traffic the Llynfi Valley Railway Company was incorporated in 1846 & took over the Porthcawl tramroad in 1847 and the Bridgend Railway in 1854.
in 1855 a further Act was obtained authorising the conversion of both the Porthcawl & Bridgend tramroads into locomotive-worked broad gauge railways connecting at Bridgend with the South Wales Railway which was opened to Swansea in 1850.
To be continued...
This section to be Continued in full... together with Exclusive Coverage of First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative which was launched on Friday 06 July 2012 at Ysgol yr Ferch o'r Sger School in North Cornelly.
First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative
First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative will be visiting schools throughout the Kenfig & surrounding areas delivering a powerful safety message aimed at school children and rail safety in general. This website will not only be documenting the history of local railways but also helping to promote this unique & informative rail safety message for all to learn from.
Kenfig.org is pleased to announce that it has exclusive & 1st hand coverage of all these school visits.
The schools rail safety initiative was launched by Geraint Llewellyn, a local high speed train driver in July 2012 after a near-miss with two children sitting on the railway tracks at Briton Ferry; the project has the full backing of First Great Western, British Transport Police, local Councillors, South Wales AM's & the Welsh Government and has already been heavily covered by the Press & Media including the BBC & ITV News networks together with local & national Radio/Newspapers.
Further Information - Read more...
Train driver Geraint Llewellyn takes safety message to schools after near-miss BBC News South West Wales
Ysgol Y Ferch O’r Sger pupils learn about railway safety Wales online - Glamorgan Gazette
ON THIS DAY (08 AUGUST 1932) COMMUNITY - MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT
HISTORY - PORTHCAWL
The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl
The Grand Pavilion was built on a piece of land known as 'Brogden's Field' by the Porthcawl Urban District Council & was the brainchild of Cllr Russell Mabley JP. The building was designed by architect E.J.E.Moore on 07 Dec 1931 being fabled to have been based on a similar styled building in Singapore. The cutting of the 1st sod was on 9 Oct 1931 when the site was cleared & foundations began. By early 1932 its structure had taken shape & work started on the erection of the ferrous concrete octagonal dome.
Due to the importance of the use of ferrous concrete in the construction of the dome, the Grand Pavilion was given a Grade II listed status in 1998. The Grand Pavilion & Winter Gardens were built at a cost of £25,000.00 - The 2-faced clock situated atop the front facade of the building is known as the Queen Alexandra Memorial Clock & was erected by public subscription.
The Grand Pavilion celebrates its 80th birthday today & is operated by Bridgend County Borough Council's Arts & Culture Service.
more info: www.grandpavilion.co.uk
COMMUNITY - SPORTS & PASTIMES
Local Boxing - Sporting Hall of Fame
Peter Delbridge (born Pyle 07/12/1934)
Peter Delbridge was born in Pyle and boxed between 1959 & 1962 in 20 Professional contests.
He started boxing at the age of 13 at Pyle Amateur Boxing Club. At 18 years of age he was the N.C.B. Flyweight Champion, at 19 N.C.B. Bantamweight Champion and at 20 N.C.B. Featherweight Champion. He fought all the top amateurs in Europe at those weights and in 1956 was voted top boxer in Wales.
At the age of 25 he turned professional and boxed for a further 4 years in about 200 matches.
He worked in the Steel Works in Port Talbot for 22 years.
He played darts around the local pubs & clubs as well as coaching youngsters at Porthcawl A.B.C.
Source: Lyn Smith, MCK Newsletter Team 2004
Peter Delbridge Biography BOXREC
Ron Cooper Biography WELSH WARRIORS
Bryn Lewis Biography WELSH WARRIORS
Kenfig.org is not responsible for the content and/or accuracy of external website links
A-Z of Sports (Around Kenfig & Surrounding Areas)... Coming Soon
THE COAST - HISTORY - ON THIS DAY (23 April 1947)
The Samtampa / Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat Tragedy
On this day, 23 April in 1947 (66 years ago) one of the worst maritime disasters in living memory along the South Wales coastline happened. The Samtampa cargo ship with all 39 crew along with all 8 Lifeboatmen of Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat from Mumbles perished on the rocks at Sker in attrocious weather conditions. The Samtampa was broken into 3 parts - the Mumbles Lifeboat found smashed and upside down on the rocks.
The Samtampa, a former Liberty Ship, was on a voyage from Middlesborugh to Newport, in ballast. A strong westerly gale was in progress when she entered the Bristol Channel where the ship developed an engine fault. It was decided by her Captain, H. Neale Sherwell to drop anchor in Swansea Bay to carry out repairs to the engine. The weather was deteriating by the minute and at 4.38pm the starboard anchor chain parted and 12 minutes later the port cable snapped. The Samtampa was taken eastwards in the hurricane force winds and within 20 minutes she was on the rocky ledges near Sker Point.
The Mumbles Lifeboat
EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES was launched just after 6pm to go to the rescue. William Gammon, who had been Lifeboat Coxswain for 7 years, was at the helm of the lifeboat as they headed across Swansea bay to Sker.
At the same time the Porthcawl Coastguards and rocket team were attempting to get a line to the wreck from the shore. The wind speed was said to have been in excess of 100 mph and in less than 5 minutes of the Samtampa hitting the rocks she started to break up.
Around 2 hours later she was a total wreck, the 10m waves having broken her into large pieces. The rocket apparatus became ineffective due to the extreme high winds and a line out to the stricken vessel failed. It is said that some of the rockets were driven back so far by the ferrocious wind that they landed in fields behind the rocket operators themselves.
All crew of the Samtampa were drowned - the full disaster was realised by the morning of 24 April. The Mumbles Lifeboat had failed to return, and instead was found smashed upside down on Sker Rocks. When the town of Mumbles, Swansea learned of the news, the whole town was in mourning.
The Crew of S.S. Samtampa
25 of the crew of the Samtampa were from the North East of England. 10 of whom were from Middlesbrough, 4 from Whitby, 2 each from Stockton, Redcar and Staithes and 1 each from South Bank, Skelton, Bishop Auckland, West Hartlepool and Thornaby.
In Memory of all who perished on that fateful day
To the Memory of the Captain And the thirty eight Crew Members Of the Freighter S.S. SAMTAMPA Who perished on these rocks In the Great Storm of April 23rd 1947, And of the Cox'n and Crew of Seven of the Mumbles Lifeboat, "EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES" Who lost their lives in their valiant rescue attempt. This Plaque marks the final Resting place of The Mumbles Lifeboat.
Memorial - final resting place of Lifeboat on Sker Rocks (GPS coordinates- SS79177941)
The Crew of S.S.Samtampa - We Remember these gallant sailors
William Mensworth (35)
Ship's Fireman - served in the war on a munition ship torpedoed in a Russian convoy.
R Weatherill (29)
Donkeyman of 6 Sayers yard, Whitby, married with two children, served in Royal Navy during war as a petty officer.
Arthur Callighan (30)
Donkeyman greaser, of North Ormesby was in the Merchant Navy from the beginning of the war.
Ralph Chester (17)
Deck boy, was on his third trip since joining the Merchant Navy. He was at home for his 17th birthday and his brother's wedding on Easter Monday.
Joseph Griffiths (24)
Assistant cook, was on his second trip since his return to the Merchant Navy. He married a South Bank girl only seven weeks previous. He had been a prisoner of war in Japan for 3½ years.
Harry Garside (23)
He was on his first voyage in the Merchant navy less than a year after leaving the Royal Navy, he was married but no children.
John Strangeway (22)
Assistant Steward - had been at sea since he was 15.
L F Davidson (24)
Able seaman, a single man, he had been in the Merchant Navy since he was 15.
Donald Hill (26)
Able seaman, during the war he served for six years in the Royal Navy and was in the first flotilla of minesweepers which swept the way for the invasion force on D-day.
Charles Frederick Shinner (20)
Was on his fifth voyage, previously he had worked at Dorman Long's and taken a prominent part in local athletics.
H Lees (24)
Came from a seafaring family, his home was formerly at Birkenhead, he was married with two children.
Patrick McKenna (47)
Went back to sea after an absence of 20 years because he could not get over his wife's death, it was his first voyage.
George Webster (21)
Fireman - made his first sea trip to Normandy on D-day.
Joseph Gilraine (22)
Had just recovered from yellow jaundice and his widowed mother did not want him to make the trip.
Francis Cannon (30)
Donkeyman greaser the son of a sailor. His father, was on a voyage, lost another son at sea during the war.
Arnold Nicholson (19)
Galley boy - had been at sea for nearly four years. He was a well known member of Redcar Literary Institute and this was his fourth trip.
Joseph Croft (19)
Assistant steward went to sea almost straight from school, his mother thought he would give it up after the war but 'it was in his blood.'
James John Bell (29)
Boatswain - he lost two brothers also at sea in the war.
Isaac Longster (35)
Able seaman - he lost two brothers at sea during the war.
J Thompson (32)
John T Souter Jnr
K K Richardson
Stanley Daritis (19)
William John Davis (53)
C Jackson (32)
Names of other men who were not signed on in Middlesborough
Capt H N Sherwell, D Lowe(First officer), G L Murray(Second officer), P MarshallL(Third officer), W E Thompson(Radio officer), W A Atkinson(Chief engineer), J Riley(Third engineer), B McDonald(Fourth engineer).
Other members of crew
P Allam(Chief steward), R N Lythel(Second steward), B Jones(Chief cook)
J Ellis, P Ferns, J Wilson
UK-NORTHEAST-L Archives (Evening Gazette, Thursday 24th April 1947), Pauline Gregg (York UK), Researching: Brown, Searle, Olvanhill, Gregory, Huskinson (all Middlesbrough area)
The Lifeboat Crew Remembered :: Edward, Prince of Wales
William Gammon - Coxswain
William Noel - Second Coxswain
Ernest Griffin - Mechanic
William Lewis Howell - Mechanic
William Davies - Mechanic
W R S Thomas - Mechanic
W R Thomas - Mechanic
R Smith - Mechanic
Images: Kenfig.org / Glamorgan Gazette
HISTORY - THE KENFIG COMMUNITY
Croes Y Ddadl (Cross of Dispute)
Background - Location near to Maudlam Cross
The base of this cross stands almost completely buried by sand in the dunes a little north east of the crossroads formed by the junction of Heol Fach (North Cornelly) with the road from Marlas to Maudlam near Maudlam Cross; this was once a trackway which crossed Mont Mawr near Maudlam Cross. The cross itself has long disappeared but its socketed base (a moulded Sutton block) is still visible. It presumably marks the original site of this crossroads which has been 'pushed' inland away from it by the advancing sand - its name seems to imply that it was originally a place used by local people as a meeting point at which differences and disputes between them could be settled.
Historical Information - The Kenfig Charters c.1397
Croes y Ddadl or the Cross of Debate is referred to in Thomas le Despenser's Charter to the Kenfig burgesses c.1397 where its called Taddulcrosse. Tradition has it that minor differences between the burgesses were thrashed out there, a belief that might have some glimmer of truth as crosses played an important part in the lives of the peoples in medieval days which were objects of veneration and when set up in market places, traders were aware of their presence & conducted their business in an honourable fashion.
Turnpike Trust Dispute - 1843
The Croes y Ddadl was centre of serious deliberation on 26 October 1843 when a crowd of over 500 angry local farmers & freeholders assembled there to protest against the burdens imposed by the toll-gates set up by the Bridgend Trust. After a heated discussion, Jehosophat Powell of Eglwysnunydd was chosen to present a petition to the Trust requesting the removal of the gates at Redhill, Pyle (Stormy Down) and Taibach, Port Talbot. The disputes arose that merchants were attempting to bypass the Borough Markets by utilzing the Pont Velin Newydd crossing (Water Street). As documented in the Swansea Journal of 01 November 1843, there were 2 trouble spots at Pyle - these were:
In addition to this a chain was placed across the main road running from Bridgend to Aberavon.
Source: Bridgend Library & Information Services, The Story of Kenfig (A.Leslie Evans)
HISTORY - GENERAL - ARCHAEOLOGY
Local Archaeological Finds
The above coin was found near the Roman coastal road 'Julia Maritima' (Water Street) not far from Kenfig in 2011, the person who found the coin wishes to remain anonymous, however, the coin was verified for its authenticity by the National Museum of Wales in 2011. We were privilaged to be able to take photographs of the coin which appear here courtesy of its finder. The following information was kindly supplied by the National Museum of Wales
HISTORY - MEDIEVAL KENFIG
The Kenfig Ordinances (Bye-Laws)
The ancient medieval town of Kenfig's bye-laws or Ordinances make for interesting reading at the beginning of the 21st century as they reflect the customs of that point in time together with the pattern of life within medieval Kenfig showing it to be a well regulated community. A copy of the Kenfig Ordinances that were drawn up & revised dates from c.1330 - these would have been made by the Portreeve or chief municipal officer & his aldermen at Kenfig.
Bakers, Brewers & Tanners
The town's bakers who were licenced by the Portreeve were ordered to bake wholesome bread of a standard weight fixed by the corporation 'on pain of grevious amerciament (fine) and further punishments provided by his Majesty's laws & statues for such heinous and intolerable offences. Similar ordinances applied to brewers and tanners.
Butchers were forbidden to sell meat on Sundays or to slaughter or scald animals in the High Street; if they were burgesses they had to conduct their business under the town shambles. Non-resident butchers could only conduct business on Fridays & Saturdays.
Fighting or Brawling
Brawlers in the town who drew blood were to be amerced 3s.4d. for the offence with additional fines for the affray at the Portreeve's pleasure.
To ensure a measure of sanitation butchers were fined for casting heads & feet of animals and any other offal into the High Street or elsewhere in the town.
CHANNEL 4 TIME TEAM AT KENFIG
Latest News: Channel 4 Time Team episode was broadcast on Sunday 18 March 2012 - the episode is now available on Channel 4oD online at Channel 4oD online - Time Team at Kenfig
The Buried Medieval Town of Kenfig - 3 day Archaeological Dig (August 2011) - View Time Team Visit to Kenfig
The Channel 4 Time Team spent 3 days at Kenfig (Wed 10/Thu 11/Fri 12 August 2011) on an archaeological dig/filming expedition to locate the medieval buried town of Kenfig in the sand near Kenfig Castle. This section on Kenfig's website is aimed at documenting Channel 4 Time Team's actual visit to Kenfig in 2011 as this website project is being archived for posterity through both the National Library of Wales & British Library.
EXPLORE TIME TEAM AT KENFIG - Learn about Time Team, cross-referenced information on Kenfig town's history, Live Time Team Twitter News Feed, photos of day 3 and Official embedded Time Team video footage from YouTube.
CHANNEL 4 TIME TEAM AT KENFIG - View Time Team Visit to Kenfig
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - TRANSPORT - LOCAL RAILWAYS
The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway c.1825-1860
Built between 1825 and 1829, The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway connected a new harbour built at Porthcawl with iron works that had sprung up further inland at Cefn Cribbwr, Aberkenfig and Maesteg.
The railway covered a total distance of 16¾ miles descending some 490 feet from its starting point near Caerau, Maesteg. Designed for horse-drawn traffic it was a single track line with passing places and was built to a 4ft 6inch gauge with the rails fixed to stone blocks rather than wooden sleepers so as to leave a clear path between which horses and handlers could walk along.
A time-table dating from 1855 shows that it took 6¼ hours to travel from the terminus in the valley to Porthcawl and that the return trip was about 2¼ hours longer.
The trains brought iron and coal to the coast for export to worldwide destinations and on the return trip stopped at South Cornelly to collect lime for use at the iron works. As lime was an effective fertilizer, several farmers in the Maesteg area with arrangement with the railway company, operated their own trams on the line to collect supplies for their own use.
Passenger traffic started on the line as early as 1836 and became increasingly important when the track was converted to use by steam trains in 1861 making Porthcawl a popular destination for day trippers and holiday makers alike. This section of line from Porthcawl to Cefn Cribbwr junction remained operational until the 1960's when it was closed as a result of the Beeching Act.
At south Cornelly where a lane crossed the railway by a manned level crossing - the former gate keeper's house still survives as a modernised private dwelling whilst opposite it stands the former local public house known as The Three Horse Shoes (Originally called The Horse and Tram).
The public house fronted onto the railway and offered welcome refreshment for hauliers working the line before setting off on the long return journey back to Maesteg. This public house is now a private residence.
Read more... coming soon
Source: Bridgend Library & Information Serices, The Kenfig Hill & District Music & Art Society
ON THIS DAY - 28 FEBRUARY 1537
Margam Abbey - (c.1147-1536)
On this day in 1537 (477 years ago) Margam Abbey was surrendered to King Henry VIII under the Dissolution of the Monastries Act.
Founded in 1147 by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, Margam Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey of the Mother House Clairvaux - its dissolution came about in 1536 and was the first abbey to fall under the Dissolution of the Monastries by King Henry VIII. The Abbey is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and dates from the 2nd half of 12th century. There is no documentary evidence relating to Margam prior to the arrival of the Normans, however, carved & inscribed monuments nearby indicate an earlier Christian presence. The Abbey is believed to have been built on or near the site of an important Celtic monastic house.
History of Margam Abbey - Read more...Coming soon
HISTORY - GENERAL - RELIGION
Religion throughout the Kenfig & Surrounding Areas
Learn about the history of local Churches & Chapels & other religious centres together with Sunday Schools, Religious Events/Celebrations, Parish Records and more including Interactive Maps outlining burial plots at various locations, this section aims to help those tracing family tree information throughout the area.
Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)
Pisgah Baptist Chapel (Founded c.1836)
Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836) - The 1st Chapel opened Christmas Day 1836, 2nd Christmas Day 1857 & the 3rd present day building on 30 April 1913. Early Baptists worshiped at Twyn Cottage, Water Street, Caegarw Farm & Pwllygath Barn, Kenfig Hill before the chapel(s) were built. A Famous visitor was Pastor Niemoller (former German U-Boat Commander in WWI).
This section contains the history of the chapel together with an Interactive map of Pisgah Chapel graveyard & an alphabetical burials listing that will aide local Genealogy Studies together with the Kenfig Heritage Website Project Family Tree section.
HISTORY - GENERAL - RELIGION: Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)
THE CORNELLY CHRONICLES - THE HISTORY OF CORNELLY
North & South Cornelly (sub-manors of the ancient borough of Kenfig)
South Cornelly - Brief History
South Cornelly came into being as an Anglo-Norman settlement in the second half of the 12th century. It is the 'original' Cornelly, though a document of the time indicates that it narrowly escaped being known as 'Thomastown' after Thomas son of William who was an early Lord of the Manor here. His descendants subsequently adopted the name 'De Cornelly' and their house is believed to have stood where the mansion called Ty Maen stands behind high walls on the main road through the village.
The earliest elements of the present building date from around 1650 and it incorporates many unusual features. Above the main door is carved the war cry of the Knights Templar ( Non Nobis Domine, Non Nobis) whilst a pane of glass in one of the windows depicts a coat of arms believed to be those of Bishop Law of Carlisle - neither he nor the Templars are known to have any connections with this locality. A Priest's hole was discovered in an upstairs bedroom concealed behind an old cupboard. The site of the old church was in a field where the present day house 'Meadowrise' is located which stood by the wall nearlest the road opposite Ty Maen House.
Lamb Row (Rhes Yr Oen)
Lamb Row was the original main street which led from the main road up to the small medieval chapel at the foot of a rocky outcrop. Legend has it that the chapel was connected to Ty Maen by an underground passage - the chapel was dedicated to a Breton saint named Cornelius from which the village took its name. The chapel was turned in to a cottage but now is a forlorn ruin in the garden of a private house.
Not apparent when seen from the village, the entire back of the hill against which the chapel stood has been quarried away over the past two centuries to supply lime for the iron and steel industry. It was one of several such limeworks in the area and in the past South Cornelly and the surrounding countryside were perpetually coated with light grey dust from the quarries and kilns.
Read more... The Kenfig Community - South Cornelly
North Cornelly - Brief History
Originally a sub manor of the Kenfig Borough which lay outside the boundaries of the Borough itself, its earliest holders were the Lupellus family who later adopted the name Lovel. The earliest recorded name of the village from a document that dates from before 1183 is the rather cumbersome 'The Vill of Walter Lupellus'. The name Cornelly arose probably due to its close proximity to the crossroads (Cornelly Cross) where the road to the original village of Cornelly (Present South Cornelly) branched off from the main road. The village adjoining the Cornelly junction therefore became known by that name and 'North' and 'South' were added to distinguish between the two.
North Cornelly Cross
Once known as Croes y Green, this crossroads which stands at the heart of modern-day North Cornelly has been here for well over 700 years. The original village lay some distance away from the cross to the north east in the area between the manor house (Hall Farm) and the present day New House Inn. A blacksmith's shop was built on North Cornelly Cross about 1738 which continued in use until the early part of the 20th century.
Hall Farm - The Hall Manor
This house in North Cornelly was built by Roger Gramus in 1245AD and preserves features of the Tudor building owned by the Turbervilles of Penllyne [ Prominent Parish Surnames - Turbervilles ] - Thomas Gray (c.1909) suggested that it occupied the site once owned by the Grammus family who flourished in the area in the 12th & 13th centuries. The courtyard at the rear is bounded by the battered walls of a ruined building of an earlier date.
Local Roads - Street Names
Heol Fach (Little Road)
Despite its name (perhaps acquired when the 'Big Road' through Pyle was opened in the 15th century), Heol Fach during the medieval period was part of the main highway through the coastal plain of Glamorgan.
Analysis of medieval documents shows that this road descended from Stormy Down along what is now 'Heol Y Sheet' on Broadlands Estate, as far as Cornelly Cross and then headed towards the town of Kenfig. It was probably from this earlier period that it acquired the name of 'Cartway' which is often given as an alternative in 17th century documents.
At the 'Croes Y Ddadl' road junction, (Maudlam Cross), Heol Fach connected with the ancient trackway leading down from Cefn Cribbwr to the coast. The road to Pont Velin Newydd (certainly in being in the 13th century) and presumably a road leading direct to the town of Kenfig.
Water Street which was part of the Roman coastal road, via Julia Maritima was called 'Heol-y-Troedwyr' (Road of the foot soldiers).
The Julia Maritima from Gloucester to Carmarthen passed Stormy Down, Cornelly, Maudlam and Kenfig to the south of the main road as far as Cwrt-y-Defaid.
Read more... The Kenfig Community - North Cornelly
SPORTS & PASTIMES AROUND KENFIG
2012 OLYMPIC GAMES - LATEST NEWS
Table Tennis Ace from North Cornelly chosen for Paralympian Team
Paul Davies of North Cornelly is among 4 Welsh athletes chosen to take part in the Paralympic Games by the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
It's a dream come true for Paul Davies who was paralysed in an accident in 1986. It will be the first time the World-Ranked Number 9 is to go to the Paralympics and something he's dreamed of for many years. 'It was a fantastic moment to be told that I had been selected to ParalympicsGB', he said. It's a real honour and a very proud moment for my family. I have been working towards this moment for many years and it is the highlight of my career.
Davies who trains at Pyle Leisure Centre has trained for 5 Paralympic Games over a period of 20 years before being selected to compete in London 2012.
World Ranking: 9
Silver Medal at 2001 European Championships (beating 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist)
Source: Glamorgan Gazette & GEM Newspapers
KENFIG.ORG - 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES
A Special Section on the 2012 Olympic Games will be made available on this website over the coming months where we will be documenting all local athletes competing in both the able-bodied and Paralympic Games. We will also be documenting the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay that passes through our locality on the A48 at Pyle enroute from Cardiff to Swansea on Saturday 26 May 2012.
ON THIS DAY - 30 January 1607
KENFIG THROUGH THE AGES - 17TH CENTURY KENFIG
Bethlehem Church Life Centre, Cefn Cribwr
Saturday 21 January 2012
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) was one of many exhibitors at a successful 'This is Your heritage...discover it today!' exhibition held at Bethlehem Church Life Centre, Cefn Cribwr on Saturday 21 January 2012. This event was promoted by Bridgend REACH (The Bridgend Rural Development Program, Bridgend County Borough Council).
History & Heritage Steering Group
Kenfig.org Local Community Group who is responsible for this webiste is pleased to announce its association with Bridgend REACH with its History & Heritage Steering Group which aims to help promote the history, heritage & tourism aspects of the Bridgend County together with the nation of Wales as a whole.
This heritage exhibition has paved the way forward to collaborative working between like-minded individuals & organisations in forging long-term relations & business opportunities in addition to promoting both the heritage & tourism aspects of what the county has to offer. The Kenfig.org Local Community Group found the exhibition very rewarding and is looking forward to extending our services as time goes by. We would like to thank the management & staff at both the Bethlehem Church Life Centre & Bridgend REACH for hosting such a great event.
FOLKLORE - The Cefn Riders & The Red Goblins
The Cefn Riders & The Red Goblins
Cefn - Welsh for back or ridge & Pyle (Pil in Welsh) means Stronghold
The Cefn Riders
Gangs of men known as the Cefn Riders & the Red Goblins have become legendary figures in local folklore within the Kenfig & surrounding area.
Cefn Cribbwr is a sprawling village running along the top of a spur or ridge whose height & shape give it a commanding position in the area. From anywhere in Cefn the surrounding countryside can clearly be seen and the potential for defence was spotted by its earliest peoples; the ancient Britons built a camp or fort here which was known as Castell Kribor, defences were also built on the appproach routes to Cefn eg. Pyle.
From the top of the ridge the people of Cefn were able to look about them and feel quite secure. By the 19th century they had almost become a people apart & any stranger visiting the area would be eyed with silent hostility and suspicion & at worst attacked so fiercely they would think twice before venturing there again.
The soil on the ridges was so poor that it was impossible for any large community to remain there and so bands of tougher men descended upon the lowlands taking what they required. No farm or building was safe, sheep and cattle began to disappear in large quantities. From this small step to plain thuggery the Cefn Riders as they came to be called roamed far & wide attacking strangers and packmen.
Travelling mostly on foot but sometimes on horseback they became greatly feared as far afield as Merthyr and the Vale of Glamorgan; showing little mercy to their victims - there is a very good description of 1 of their attacks in Alexander Cordell's, 'The Fire People' in which the Riders indulge in a favourite pastime of leaping on a traveller's back & forcing them to carry them some way along the journey.
The Red Goblins
The Red Goblins lived in the mountainous area between the Garw & Maesteg, these too were a band of ruffians living on what they stole from peoples living in the lowlands. From their caves on the mountainside they travelled in sweeping raids. Their favourite hunting ground was from the Vale of Glamorgan to the coast.
On one occasion they caught the Carmarthenshire Drovers on their way to the meat markets of London & stole their entire herd, on another occasion they captured an aristocratic lady of the Carne family & held her to ransome.
The Red Goblins appear to have been capable of gallant acts & they always treated women honourably. Sometimes 'men of good breeding' joined the gang in search of adventure - in spite of this, mothers were able to make their children behave with the phrase... Hush! or the Red Goblins will get you.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - The Kenfig Heritage Project
Kenfig Times - Echos from the Past
The Kenfig Community - North Cornelly, Maudlam & Kenfig
Kenfig Times - Old Shops of North Cornelly, Maudlam & Kenfig
Court House, Blue Street
Owned by Mrs Caroline David - this was a dark room with uneven flagstones, fitted out with counter, drawers & brass scales; the shop sold materials such as cotton, buttons, fastners & boots (not shoes) which were hanging up on nails from a raftered ceiling. The shop also had bee-hives on the front lawn & sold beeswax in the shape of a basin mould & honey. Some sweets such as Fry's Cream chocolate was usually on the counter.
The CO-OP, Blue Street
Built next door to Court House this was at one time Harris's Photographic Studio & a grocery shop owned by Willie Thomas of Tymaen.
David's The Butchers, Maudlam
This was a village shop in what was formally the Butcher's Arms - it was also a Post Office.
Jenkin Morgan, Maudlam
Firstly this was a shop in the parlour at Fir Tree Cottage and later across the road at Heol Las Farm - the shop sold sweets.
Miss Vaughan's, Ton Kenfig
This shop was formally operated by Mrs Skinner & later by Miss Vaughan - its was situated behind the former Windrush Restaurant.
Mrs Jenkin's, Ton Kenfig
A wooden shop adjacent to Pen y Lan.
Marie Vaughan's, Near New House, Cornelly
This shop was situated between Fairfield House (4 new houses today) & the New House Inn - this is where the so called 'Parish' was paid out.
Pear Tree Cottage, Old Road
Parlour type shop situated behind the New House Inn
Mrs Powell's, Grit Hill, Old Road
Small parlour shop on the then main road to Pyle (Ffordd y Eglwys) - Mrs Powell also had a wooden cabin shop at Pyle station.
Dampier's, Heol Fach, Cornelly
George Dampier built a shop in the early 1920's - it was the only newsagent's in the area (the nearest newsagent was at Kenfig Hill). A Fish & Chip shop was opened in Belmont House, Heol Fach, prior to this William's Fish & Chip shop was next door before Belmont House had been built. Before both these food shops, a Fish & Chip Cart used to operate around the district.
Granny Bowen's, Pearl Cottage, Blue Street
This was a small parlour shop operating from chest of drawers. The 4 cottages were apparently at one time: a private house, the 1st cottage being the stable, the 2nd the kitchen, the 3rd the living room & the 4th the lounge. At one time there was a tailor's in the upstairs of the first cottage.
Old Post Office, Curwen Terrace, Cornelly
Built c.1911 by Will Evans as a shop. It was made the Post Office c.1922. This also was Thomas & Evans, Peglar's, & Jeff Roberts Electrical.
Blacksmith's Shop, Cornelly Cross
William John's stone built shop on the cross - this was later re-built across the road as a tin-built forge.
School Terrace, Cornelly
Carpenter's shop at Cornelly Court, Saunder's shoe shop & Roger Evan's Fish & Chip shop.
E.W.John, Butcher, Heol Fach, Cornelly
Built in early 1920's by Evan John, father of Willie John & grandson Arwyn. This butchers closed sometime ago.
Glen Rosa Cafe, Heol Fach, Cornelly
Started by Mrs Elizabeth Hughes at Ton Kenfig as a summer shop in the late 1920's - its was incorporated into the house at Heol Fach and run for many years by her daughter Betty Jenkins. It had a long room with a billiard table & was used at one time as a meeting place for the Kenfig Women's Institute, Church Sunday School & as a local political meeting place. There was a wooden seat on the verandah and was always the haunt of youngsters of the area.
Webb's, Heol Fach, Cornelly
A grocery/sweet shop opened in the late 1920's. This shop was next to Edward's newsmarket which is presently a hairdressing salon.
Broad's, Heol Fach, Cornelly
Opened in early 1930's by Sammy Evans as a sweet shop.
Roach's Fruit Shop, Heol Fach, Cornelly
Mrs Davies started a shop in Brecon House which was later opened as a fruit shop by Tom Roach & later still as the doctor's surgery.
Old Cottages, top of Blue Street
In the 2nd of the two old cottages that once stood at the top end of Blue Street, Mrs Jack Carter sold home-brewed pop made from herbs etc from nearby fields.
St John Ambulance
The Kenfig Community - Kenfig Hill
St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division - started c.1909
St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division c.1920
The Ambulance Hall Kenfig Hill c.1937
The St John Ambulance Movement
The movement in Kenfig Hill started c.1909 when the first class was held at Kenfig Hill School for the purpose of rendering First Aid to the injured. After 2 years a committee was formed which met at the home of Dr Cooper. First Aid grew to such an extent that classes were held at the Talbot Institute from 23 March 1912 - the Kenfig Hill Division was officially formed in this year with the Cefn Cribbwr Division being formed in 1913.
Prize draws & concerts were organised to raise funds to purchase uniforms with equipment & stretchers kindly donated. There were an average of 120 injuries treated each year by the Kenfig Hill Division.
The Ambulance Hall
This was built in 1914 at a cost of £190. It was located to the north of Mynydd Cynffig Junior School on the site presently occupied by the Air Training Corps Headquaters (2117 (Kenfig Hill) Squadron - Air Training Corps). When the division celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1937 it consisted of 23 Ambulance men, a nursing division of 14 & a cadet force of 25. The division had a fine team which won many cups & shields at the National Eisteddfod Ambulance Competitions.
In 1924 the St John Priory of Wales stationed an Ambulance Car at Kenfig Hill which was initially housed near the Ambulance Hall but was moved to a garage on Pisgah Street opposite Pyle Welfare (Pyle Life Centre) when the ambulance hall was taken down. The Ambulance Hall was demolished in the late 1970's and the division was wound up for practicable purposes in 1984.
Llanfihangel Mill & Farm
The Kenfig Community - Pyle / Pil
Llanfihangel Mill & Farm - Mentioned in 1186
The old mill is situated in a hollow below Marlas and is approached via a stone bridge over the River Kenfig. In former times it was held by the monks of Margam as one of the Granges of Margam Abbey (St. Michael's) and was attached to the nearlby farm - mention to this is made in 1186. The mill was leased by lay tenants and served the needs of the people around Pyle until 1926. The Mill was fed via a sluce from a dam & waterfall upstream at the Collwyn.
The earliest known lay tenant was Thomas ap David who secured a lease upon the mill in 1527.
Following the dissolution of Margam Abbey the mill was acquired by the Mansel family (1536 - 1750) at this time there were 3 other corn mills operating in the area but by 1700 Llanfihangel was the only 1 still operational. Between 1724-1725 considerable renovation work were carried out and by 1739 a drying kiln had been added. In 1751 machinery for a second mill had been installed. (The tenant at this time was Edward Harris (d.1756) who was Portreeve of the Kenfig Borough for 14 consecutive years between 1742 & 1756 - Kenfig Portreeves 1339-1886)
The farm which is screened from view from the highway has labelled & mullioned windows which date from the late 16th century. When new windows were inserted in the south wall in 1959 sections of a small moulded & cusped 14th century window were found. Scores of pigeon holes can be seen in the northern pine end and nearby stands a large ruined building believed to have been used as a tithe barn. In 1358 and abbey lay brother named Meuric who worked at the grange was indicted for harbouring felons there.
Ffynnon Collwyn Spring
Along the Collwyn behind St James' Church a flight of steps leads down to a small spring at the very edge of the river. This is known as Ffynnon Collwyn and was formally a healing well, the waters of which were claimed to have medicinal properties.
Unusual Story Connected with the Mill
In 1833 an 11 year old girl named Ann Thomas was at the mill when her clothing became caught in the machinery "which machinery whirled her about with such violence as to mangle her whole frame in such a shocking manner as caused her instantaneous death". The girl was the daughter of a carpenter named Thomas Thomas from Pyle - 8 years later he was employed to carry out repairs to the waterwheel; "His foot slipt or entangled in the said water wheel, so that his head went between the said water wheel and the wall, by means whereof the said Thomas Thomas then and there instantly died".
History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
Learn the history of each of the neighbouring villages and towns that surround the old borough of Kenfig. In this section you can learn of the history of each individual area.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY
History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
ON THIS DAY - 28 December 1781
CATERINA - lost at Sker Point on 28 December 1781
On this day in 1781 (232 years ago), the vessel CATERINA was lost at Sker Point. Hundreds of local people converged upon the wreck with a lawless attitude totally indifferent to the sufferance of her crew. The newly formed fellowship put a guard on the ship and a pitch battle broke out - 3 people were killed.
Hanged for Plundering
The plunderers were later caught and jailed but tranferred to Hereford to prevent the locals from freeing them. One of these, John Webb was later hanged.
The cargo of the CATERINA consisted of cotton, several casks of wine, brandy, currants & other goods.
Some 28 years before the wreck of the CATERINA in 1753, a similar occurrence of the shameful plundering of wrecks by local people happened with LE VAINQUEUR again at Sker and in the same month. Outling the severity with which the authorities meant to deal with offenders by affixing noticies to local parish church doors advising, "that the looting of wrecks was punishable by death" this didn't seem work as a deterent to the practise of looting wrecked vessels.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
KENFIG THROUGH THE AGES - 16TH CENTURY KENFIG
King Henry VIII & Kenfig
King Henry VIII Wikipedia
The overwhelming of Kenfig by the sands in the late 15th century was just a memory by 1538 when Leland, the Kings Antiquary visited the area. He wrote of the castle and village being in ruins and 'almost shokid and devourid with sand that the Severne Se castith up'. He referred to the Kenfig River as Colebrooke and mentioned good corn and grass at Sker.
At this time, King Henry VIII dissolved the monastries. Margam was the first to go in Glamorgan and when the monks left, all their property, which included some burgages at the site of the old town of Kenfig, fell to the Crown. The lands were sold to various buyers and Margam, Pyle, Stormy, Kenfig Higher (the area north of the Kenfig river) and coal pits in Cefn Cribbwr were acquired in 1546 by Sir Rice Mansel of Oxwich and Penrice in the Gower.
He settled at Margam a little later. The Lordship of Kenfig Borough itself was Henry VIII's since he was Lord of Glamorgan, but by 1550 it was sold to Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke.
Life in 16th Century Kenfig
Tudor Period (1485-1603) / Elizabethan Era
During the Tudor period, houses in some areas were constructed of a timber framework (usually of oak) with wattle and plaster in between and topped with a thatched roof. Many great oaks grew at Margam and it is known that some were transported as far as Plymouth for ship building.
It is probable that most of the houses in the area now known as Ton Kenfig and in the village of Maudlam were built of local stone. The Guildhall, the present 'Prince of Wales Inn' dates from the 16th century as does Sker House.
Glass was expensive so was only seen in the houses of the wealthy. Homes of farmers and merchants contained furniture such as settles, wooden armchairs, carved beds with feather mattresses lain across ropes and wollen blankets.
Peasant's huts were more sparsely furnished with just a few stools, pots and a wooden chest. The hut floor was of earth and the fire was built on a hearthstone with a basket hood to take the smoke out through the smoke hole.
Poor people wore rough cotton or wollen clothes while a well-off farmer dressed in leather doublet and hose. Wealthy women had tight-bodied dresses with padded sleeves and cloaks were worn in cold weather. The climate deteriorated over western Europe during the latter half of the century and there was a succession of bad harvests and a famine in 1556.
Working in the area
Although iron and coal working was gradually on the increase in Glamorgan, most of the people worked on the land including those of the Kenfig area. Many died from malnutrition and there was also an influenza epidemic.
In Elizabeth I's region, laws were made to help the poor since the closing of the monasteries meant there were no monks to provide charity and the practice of keeping sheep had resulted in fewer people required to work the soil. More corn was grown and the numbers of cattle increased. At this time there were water mills for grinding corn at Llanfihangel Farm and at Pont Felin Newydd.
Catholic Counter Reformation and Kenfig
Elizabeth I was determined to thwart the Catholic Counter Reformation which had begun in the reign of Mary Tudor. Those who refused to attend Church of England services were fined twenty pounds a month and then two thirds of their estates were fortified if the fine was not paid. In 1585 it was high treason for Popish priests to remain in the country.
Despite these measures the people of Kenfig and surrounding areas remained faithful Catholics - maybe due to the lasting influence of the dissolved abbey at Margam and the activities of the priests harboured by the Turbervilles of Sker. Mary Tudor had also been respected by the people of South Wales since she was seen to be Henry VIII's true heir while Elizabeth was the daughter of the unpopular Anne Boleyn.
Thomas ab Ieuan ap Rees (c.1510-60) was a bard from Tythegston who sang before the dissolution of the monastries - he was a devout Catholic and composed a verse on the accession of Mary Tudor. One of his other poems tells of his imprisonment in the town of Kenfig.
King Philip of Spain & Margam
There is a story which tells of King Philip of Spain, a suitor for Elizabeth's hand, sending her a gift of orange and lemon trees. The ship was wrecked on Kenfig Sands but the trees were saved and planted at Margam. They were not formally presented to the Mansels of Margam until Queen Anne's time and it was not until 1785 that the Orangery was erected for their protection. It is debatable whether the cultivation of orange trees would have continued in Margam for such a length of time before the orangery was built.
More in-depth information on Kenfig during the 16th century can be viewed on the Kenfig History Timeline c.1147-1886 ...Read more
Kenfig Timeline c.1147-1886
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
The Kenfig Heritage Project - MAIN HISTORY SECTION
Documenting entire history of Kenfig & surrounding Area from Prehistory to Present Day
A survey of the Kenfig Borough in 1570 mentioned several free tenants holding land within the borough.
The annual burgage rent was twenty shillings. Thirty-three shillings and four pence was payable by each burgess when the heir of a deceased lord took possession.
Free tenants and burgesses owed 'suit of court' (an obligation to attend the hundred court and another two yearly courts). The hundred court was granted by the Crown to a lordship and all free men 'assembled in their hundred'. These tenants were excused obligations such as suit of mill (having to grind their own corn at the manorial mill) and heriots (payments made to the lord on the death of a tenant). An ordinance of the Borough added in 1572 descibed the enclosing and ditching of part of the free common at Cefn Cribbwr - this common apparently extended from Cattpitt (Pwll-y-Gath, Kenfig Hill) to the ridge of Coity. The enclosed land was given to the Borough by the Lords of Glamorgan to replace ground at Kenfig covered by sand. 29 burgesses shared the area.
ON THIS DAY - 17 December 1753
LE VAINQUEUR - lost at Sker Rocks on 17 December 1753
On this day in 1753 (260 years ago), the French Merchantman, Le Vainqueur struck Sker Rocks. She was enroute from Lisbon to Le Harve when her captain entered the Bristol Channel under the belief it was the English Channel, a fatal mistake made by others before and after. In her holds were 789 chests of oranges, 650 frails of figs, 240 boxes of lemons and 84 planks of Brazilian hardwood. Of her 10 man crew, 8 survived, yet her Captain and the first mate, both brothers were drowned.
The shameful plundering executed by the local people with much of the cargo destined for the banqueting halls of the French nobility, was to provide a clandlestine Christmas feast for the people of Margam and Kenfig. News of her plight spread through the county like wildfire and within hours, hundreds of people were swarming over the stricken vessel grabbing whatever booty they could. Some hacked at the woodwork and even set it alight in an attempt to recover the nails - everything had salvage value.
The Captain's body was rifled of 17 Portuguese gold pieces, his silver shoe and knee buckles and a silver watch - this last item was recovered from a Pyle watchmaker to whom the thief had taken it with a view to repair.
17 people were arrested for looting and several accussed, cited Issac Williams of Sker as having a hand in the plundering of the wreck. Better known as the father of ' Elizabeth Williams, The Maid of Sker ' - he was at this time both the Constable for the Hundred of Newcastle and a local magistrate.
He was to claim that he simply removed as much cargo to Sker House as possible to protect it, while this maybe correct, his cause wasn't made any stronger by the fact that some of these goods were stolen during the night, despite having been put under guard. During the subsequent enquiry, two witnesses gave statements as to William's conduct and whilst there was insufficient evidence for Williams to be brought to trial, it is said that local people never trusted him again and that he went in some fear of his life.
Of those arrested, 1 was hanged and to help bring the severity with which the authorities meant to deal with offenders, notices were affixed to local parish church doors advising, "that the looting of wrecks was punishable by death".
Source: Yvonne Carr (Shipwrecks around and about Kenfig), Tom Bennett (Shipwrecks around Wales - Happy Fish Publishers, Dyfed), Lloyds Register of Ships
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
ON THIS DAY - 08 December 1808
RICHARD - lost at Tusker Rock on 08 December 1808
On this day in 1808 (205 years ago), the vessel RICHARD bound for the Ogmore River from Cardigan (West Wales) was lost. Three of her 7 crew together with her cargo which is unknown were saved - The vessel was lost.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
ON THIS DAY - 04 December 1678
Saint Philip Evans (1645-1679)
Arrested at Sker House - 04 December 1678
On this day in 1678 (335 years ago), Father Philip Evans, a Roman Catholic priest was arrested at the home of Christopher Turberville at Sker, Glamorgan. When he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, he was imprisoned alone in Cardiff Castle. He had been arrested in the hysteria of the Titus Oates plot to kill King Charles II.
After five months the priest was brought to trial but when no evidence of his complicity could be produced, he was charged with being a priest (which was illegal in the realm) - few were willing to serve as witnesses. He was convicted on the evidence of two poor women who were suborned to say that they had seen Father Evans celebrating Mass.
He was executed on Gallows Field (north eastern end Richmond Road, Cardiff) - Father Evans addressed the onlookers in Welsh and English - He was executed along with John Lloyd saying 'Adieu, Mr Lloyd, though for a little time, for we shall shortly meet again '. The feast day of St. Philip Evans is on 25 October.
Father Philips died at Cardiff, 22 July 1679. He was beatified in 1929, canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Philip Evans was born in Monmouthshire in 1645 and educated at Saint-Omer, he joined the Society of Jesus when he was 20 and was ordained at Liège, Belgium, in 1675.
Father Philip was sent back to Wales to minister to the Catholics in the southern part of the country. For several years he zealously ministered to his flock unmolested, but the civil authorities turned a blind eye until November 1678 - although John Arnold, a justice of the peace and hunter of priests, offered a £200 bounty for his arrest, Father Evans refused to leave his flock untended.
KENFIG - The Complete History (e-Resource) ...... HISTORY | WAR YEARS | COMMUNITY | FOLKLORE | THE COAST
Maudlam Church (Built c.1255) - (Parish of Pyle & Kenfig)
Dedicated to St.Mary Magdalene, Maudlam Church (built c.1255). It isn't the parish church due to a consistory court, which met at Margam in 1485, deciding that this status be accorded to St.James' church, Pyle; even though Maudlam Church is some 200 years older. Learn more about the church including a Live Church in Wales Twitter news feed.
Read more... Maudlam Church
St James' Church, Kenfig (Built c.1147-1154)
Built c.1147-1154 by the Normans & endowed to Tewkesbury Abbey, St James' Church was located close to Kenfig Castle in the medieval town of Kenfig. It is believed that St James' Church at Kenfig was removed stone by stone & rebuilt at Pyle being renamed St James' at that location in the 15th century.
Read more... St James' Church, Kenfig
St James' Church, Pyle (Built c.1471)
Known locally as 'The Upside-down Church' as it is reputed that when the sands threatened to engulf Kenfig, the old church of St James' in the town was dismantled stone by stone and re-built in 'reverse' at it's present location. The Church was built c.1471 - St James' Church, Pyle is the Parish Church for the benefice of Pyle and Kenfig.
Read more... St James' Church, Pyle
THE KENFIG COMMUNITY
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY
Detailed Oral Accounts of Kenfig & Surrounding Areas
Read detailed oral accounts from local people of Kenfig and surrounding areas & experience what life was like in the 20th and early 21st centuries in South Wales during this point in time. Experience the trials and tribulations of a once thriving agricultural community changed forever with the advent of modern society, housing developments and changes in transportation taking a once sedate community into an urban sprawl.
History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
Learn the history of each of the neighbouring villages and towns that surround the old borough of Kenfig. In this section you can learn of the history of each individual area.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY
History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
HISTORY - KENFIG
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) HISTORY SECTION
The Seal of Kenfig Borough
The seal was used by Alice, the widow of John Peruat, (former Burgess of Kenfig) for her gifts of land & 2 burgages in the town of Margam Abbey in 1320 & 1321 because 'her seal is unknown to many persons'. In August 1325 the seal was used by John Nichol of Kenfig when he quit-claimed to the monks all his land & burgages in the town.
This wasn't the only seal used by the burgesses. John (son of Henry de Bonville) used the Kenfig Borough Seal on a receipt for payment in lieu of arrears on a pension he was receiving from the monks. Instead of an ornamental cross between 4 pellets, the seal outlined displays the device of a fleur-de-lis.
The Iron Age
7th Century Iron Age Camp
Pen-y-Castell, Kenfig Hill
This fortification was 700 feet long by 220 feet wide strategically positioned on the crest (Ton) to command a military position over the 2 valleys either side & the approaches from the sea. Remains of the camp were extensively damaged by quarrying in 19th century.
A 9th century fortification on Stormy Down were completely destroyed by more recent quarrying during the 20th century.
Reference: Iron Age Britain Wikipedia
Kenfig - A Medieval Town
A Brief Background
Archaeological evidence has suggested that there has been a settlement at Kenfig since Roman times. Pieces of Romano-British pottery, a roofing tile and a coin depicting the emperor Constans (337 – 350 A.D.) have been found. Additionally, a Roman road runs through the Borough complete with mile stones. These mile stones are situated in Margam and Pyle and they carry inscriptions to the emperors Postumus (259 – 268 A.D.) and Victorinus (268 - 270 A.D.) respectively. In the wider landscape Neolithic arrowheads, scrapers, a dwelling and a burial urn have also been uncovered suggesting that Kenfig has been a home to people for at least 4000 years.
The Iron Age
Iron Age settlements were constructed to the North and to the East of Kenfig providing a continuity of occupation into Roman times. The Iron Age people of Kenfig were known as the Silures and they were led by Bodvoc, son of Caitegern, great-grandson of Eternalis Vedomavus. Bodvoc was killed in the struggle against Rome by legionaries commanded by Julius Frontinus. The ‘Bodvoc Stone’, a tribute to the Silurian leader, now stands in the Margam stones museum.
The Romans were converted to Christianity by the Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. and the pagan tribes of Kenfig were forced to abandon their gods and worship the god of Rome. As Christianity took hold among the Silures, and Britain as a whole, monasteries were built, including an early structure at Margam. To this day, an abbey exists at Margam, thus providing a link to those early Christian founding fathers.
Irish, Angles, Saxons & Vikings
By 410 A.D. the Roman Empire was in decay and the troops stationed in Britain were called back to defend Rome. The vacuum left by the Romans was filled by numerous raiders over the coming centuries, including the Irish, the Angles, the Saxons and the Vikings. It is suggested that the Vikings settled in the area and that local place names such as Sker, and Kenfig itself, are of Viking origin.
By the 11th century a new power had emerged in Europe: descendants of the Vikings, the Normans invaded Britain and led by Robert Fitzhamon they took control of Kenfig, c1100 A.D. A castle was built, initially of wood, to help suppress any local opposition and that was followed by a church, dedicated to St James. A town was established, made up of Norman and English settlers, and a system akin to apartheid was set in place. Needless to say, the indigenous people, who were largely excluded from the town, took exception to this imposition and the town was raided on the 13th January 1167. As a result of this, and subsequent raids, the wooden castle was replaced by a stone tower and the donjon that would come to dominate Kenfig for the next 300 years was born.
FAMOUS PEOPLE OF KENFIG THROUGH THE AGES
Ben, the Hermit of Kenfig Sands - View Story
The Story of a Welsh 'Robinson Crusoe', the difference being that he was cast up from a coal mine and not by the sea.
RARE PHOTOS OF KENFIG SAND DUNES - View Photos
Digitised images from old glass lantern slides c.1904
A selection of rare images of Kenfig & Newton Burrows have kindly been donated to this project by Mr Steve Parker of Kenfig.
KENFIG NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE SSSI
THE TOWN HALL - PRINCE OF WALES INN
The Prince of Wales Inn
The Town Hall of the Ancient Borough of Kenfig replaced the old guild hall of the ancient Borough which once stood in the old medieval town and is the focal point of the Borough both within its present and former transitions. The building is owned by The Kenfig Corporation Trust; its upstairs room has been in continuous usage for centuries and it was within this very room that the Burgesses exercised their rights granted by the Kenfig charters.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
Read more... History Section